Insurance Ireland has warned that remote working, aka working from home, can expose lawful claims if employees do not have a safe working environment. The Irish insurer said, “ if safety measures are not taken, then it could lead to expensive claims for employers“.
In their report, the company claimed that working from home can enhance the risk of “frivolous claims“; thus, working from home during lockdown can be expensive for any business should staff feel the need to make a claim against their employer. Under health and safety regulations, employers should make sure there’s a safe and secure workplace for the employees, regardless if they work from the comfort of their own home.
Online surveys analyzed the safety of workplaces through live pictures, online interviews, and questionnaires. According to the assessment conducted, it was observed that certain situations could harm the physical or mental health of an employee, and that could lead to costly litigation claims.
In one of the assessments, it was found that an employee used her bedroom as a workspace and worked for the entire day from the room. The employee hardly took a break and stayed in the room for more than 10 hours. It was pointed out that employees who worked long hours without exercise or human interaction can lead to mental and physical disturbances.
A spokesperson for Insurance Ireland, Criona Turley, says, “We are seeing injury claims coming through, though some are being settled rather than hitting the Workplace Relations Commission, so it’s not as public as it should be“. According to Ms Turley, employers might not be aware of their employees’ struggling to find a safe work environment at home.
90% of the workforce of RBK Accounting Services are working from home all across Ireland. The Managing Partner of RBK, David Gleeson, said that “it is a challenge for employers to ensure safe working conditions“. He shared the preventive measures the company has initiated, such as work from home culture awareness, virtual risk assessments, training, ergonomic assessments and creating a robust IT system for employee management. The actions taken by the firm will work conductively for both the employer and the employees, he added.